ROCKFORD (WREX) - Up to eighteen people are arrested in an illegal gun trafficking investigation centered in Rockford.
The Department of Justice says in April of 2009, it began working with a new resale shop in the 1200 block of Broadway called "Tony Tones All Thangs Fine." The managers of the shop said they would be willing to purchase firearms and narcotics to build a case for federal investigators.
Assistant United States Attorney John McKenzie describes how it worked, "Those charged brought the guns into the resale shop, sold them to the store manager, the store manager was working with the ATF."
Over the next 6 months, mangers bought more than 50 firearms, including a dozen sawed-off shotguns. Most of the guns were allegedly sold to the shop illegally by previously convicted felons, or by people who thought they were selling to a convicted felon. "This is part of an effort to send a message to people who might try to buy and sell firearms illegally, if they go out and do it they may be running in to an undercover operation," says United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
When the resale shop closed in October 2009, investigators, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, removed video equipment it used to record the illegal sales. Investigators used that to arrest up to 18 people on state and federal charges, including 8 Rockford residents who are indicted on federal charges and 10 others who face state charges. State's Attorney Joe Bruscato believes these kinds of collaborative efforts are necessary to tackle Winnebago County's high crime rate. "We have to do something to take care of this problem and at the heart of it is drugs and guns, and this type of effort really puts us in a good direction."
Face Federal Charges:
Marcus J. Causey, 24, of Rockford
Derell C. Valentine, 25, of Rockford
Darrius D. Parker, 27, of Rockford
Marcus Anderson, 22, of Rockford
Tyrone M. Smith, 32, of Rockford
Edward M. Ingram, 22, of Rockford
Brendon R. Turner, 22, of Rockford
Jarrett Leon Lewis, 26, of Rockford
Face State Charges:
Raul Rodriquez, 18
Sierra Taylor, 23
Torrence M. Taylor, 24
Israel O. Barnabas, 31
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